The seven-day adventure begins with an overnight at Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, then heads out by boat to Lighthouse Reef. You’ll explore the Lighthouse Reef atoll—a tropical marine park and designated UNESCO World Heritage Site—via various snorkeling and paddling opportunities. Spend five nights at your Half Moon Caye Basecamp, which offers both guided and independent excursions, and end your trip with a night in Belize City.

Highlights

  • Go birding and explore the lively fauna at Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Discover the underwater remains of the Ermlund shipwreck from 1971
  • Kayak over to the “aquarium” to snorkel among the abundance of fish
  • Enjoy some final relaxation at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Belize and Travel to Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary Crooked Tree Village
Day 2 Travel to Half Moon Caye Basecamp Half Moon Caye
Day 3 Half Moon Caye - Paddle and Explore Lighthouse Reef Atoll Half Moon Caye
Day 4 Half Moon Caye - Explore Surrounding Reef Systems Half Moon Caye
Day 5 Half Moon Caye - Snorkel at the Aquarium Half Moon Caye
Day 6 Half Moon Caye - Paddle and Snorkel at Long Caye Half Moon Caye
Day 7 Travel to the Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City Belize City

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Belize and Travel to Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary

Bird's Eye View Lodge & Jabiru Stork!
Bird's Eye View Lodge 

When you arrive at Belize International Airport, a representative will meet you and welcome you to the country. You’ll be transported to the Bird’s Eye View Lodge in the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary, with its swamps, wetlands, and four lagoons, provides an ideal resting place for thousands of migrating and resident birds.

After checking into your accommodations, you’ll have a chance to meet your fellow travelers, enjoy a meal, and if time permits, explore Crooked Tree Village, which is one of Belize’s oldest Creole settlements. Take some time to get acclimated in the tropical environment around you, and then enjoy dinner at the lodge.

Day 2: Travel to Half Moon Caye Basecamp

Beautiful Half moon Caye
Half Moon Caye

Good Morning! Coffee will be served at sunrise. With your binoculars in hand, you’ll enjoy the sounds and sights of the awakening wilderness. There are usually several hundred birds of many species feeding in front of the lodge, along the shores of the Crooked Tree lagoons. After a healthy Belizean breakfast, you’ll embark by boat to explore the surrounding areas. Throughout this adventure, you’ll have access to exceptional birding and wildlife viewing opportunities. You can expect to spot turtles, parrots, ibis, Morelet’s crocodiles, and iguanas—just to name a few species.

Weather permitting, later in the morning, you’ll be driven along Old Belize Road to the seashore, where you’ll board a motor charter. This charter takes you through white-sand cayes, mangrove ranges, and beyond the main Barrier Reef to Lighthouse Reef Atoll, which is located at the furthest edge of the Belizean Reef System—55 miles offshore of the mainland.

Upon reaching Half Moon Caye, your guide team will get you acquainted with your new island setting, and help you settle into your accommodations. You’ll enjoy a late lunch and an afternoon snorkeling or kayaking session. Then, the evening will be at your leisure.

Day 3: Half Moon Caye - Paddle and Explore Lighthouse Reef Atoll

Safari style camp on Half moon Caye, Belize
Safari-style camp on Half Moon Caye

Due to its isolated location from the mainland, the waters of Lighthouse Reef Atoll are exceptionally clear, with inspiring scenery and a rich reef system. This ecosystem offers some of the best kayaking, snorkeling, and diving in the Caribbean. To begin, our guides will provide professional instruction - teaching you the fundamentals of sea kayaking, snorkeling, and safety in the waters of the tropics.

Then, the day is yours to enjoy. Feel free to take part in one or several activities around the reef, so you can get the most out of exploring the marine ecosystem.

Day 4: Half Moon Caye - Explore Surrounding Reef Systems

View of Half Moon Caye
Beach views from Half Moon Caye

Today, you’ll have many options to explore, including a shipwreck, which looms just north of the caye. In 1971, a ship named the Ermlund lost power during a storm and was deposited on the reef by a large wave. This 4,000-ton wreck rests silently as a landmark and is one of many shipwrecks in the area. It serves as a constant reminder of the navigational hazards in these waters.

You’ll also have ample opportunities to learn from your guides about the marine reef ecology, the island’s mangrove, and the interior forest habitat. This area of the park consists of 45 acres. Many species of birds nest on the island, including a red-footed booby colony of 4,000. The Audubon Society has built a series of viewing platforms to intimately observe the many nesting sites.

You’ll also have the option to hang out in a hammock with a good book and a cold beverage, too. Enjoy the activities offered by the caye, and the evening at your leisure.

Day 5: Half Moon Caye - Snorkel at the aquarium

Snorkel the Aquarium
Snorkel the aquarium

The "aquarium" is today’s big adventure. You’ll pack a hearty lunch and your snorkel gear in the provided kayaks and paddle with motor support to this lively location. This dive spot is known for its abundance of fish and towering coral formations. Snorkeling in the aquarium is a favorite activity of visitors.

After your excursion, you’ll return home, stopping at the Half Moon Wall for a drifting snorkeling session over the undersea cliff of the atoll. As you float—or drift—along the sea surface using your snorkel gear, you’ll have an opportunity to view the vibrant underwater world that lies beneath.

When you get back to the caye, relax and enjoy the evening on your own time.

Day 6: Half Moon Caye - Paddle and Snorkel at Long Caye

Paddle Lighthouse Reef
Paddle around Lighthouse Reef

Today, you’ll paddle along the protected waters of the Southern Reef toward Long Caye. At this location, you’ll have a chance to snorkel in some of the atoll’s best patch reefs. After a full day of exploring, you’ll return just in time for a fresh seafood feast prepared by the Half Moon Caye cooks.

Then, you’ll have one last evening to enjoy Half Moon Caye before you leave for your final stop in the morning. 

Day 7: Travel to the Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City

Sunset over Half moon Caye, with Frigate Bird Silhouettes
Sunset in Belize

For your last morning at Lighthouse Reef Atoll, the choice is yours. Snorkel around your favorite patch of reefs, walk the island trails or swing in a hammock or beachcomb along the pristine island beaches.

After lunch, a motor charter will arrive, and you’ll begin to prepare for your trip back to the mainland. This return journey takes you through Turneffe atoll, across the Great Belize Barrier Reef, and you’ll arrive at the Belize Biltmore Hotel by late afternoon. You can enjoy a fresh shower and swim in the hotel’s pool. Your final evening is reserved for relaxing at the hotel or exploring the local area before you depart in the morning.

Map

Map of Belize Lighthouse Reef Adventure - 7 Days
Map of Belize Lighthouse Reef Adventure - 7 Days